Hertz Settles Lawsuit Over Steep Fees For Crossing Golden Gate Bridge

Jenna Lane
February 19, 2019 - 4:23 pm

SAN FRANCISCO - The City of San Francisco has settled a lawsuit with car rental agency Hertz, which had been accused of scamming customers with hidden, exorbitant fees to cross the Golden Gate Bridge. 

Due to what City Attorney Dennis Herrera described as an "outrageous deception," Hertz drivers could be charged up to $32 for a single trip across the iconic span.

That compares to the $7 paid by drivers who use a FasTrak electronic pass on the bridge. 

Hertz had imposed a toll-paying setup called PlatePass, which tacked on daily fees for every day the renter used the car after crossing the Golden Gate. 

“Let’s say they rented it for a week, and they went over the Golden Gate Bridge on their first day. That’s the only time they went across the bridge,” Herrera told KCBS Radio. “But they were charged the service fee for each of the remaining days that they had the car.”

"In many instances, they were not informed of how the fee was going to work,” Herrera said, “or they weren't informed about the fee at all.” Herrera said that customers would often only find out about the fees once they received their credit card bill.

Social media is littered with complaints from Hertz customers who got hit with the charge. 

While the case was settled in San Francisco, Herrera said the business practice was affecting Hertz rental car customers all over the United States.

In a statement to KCBS Radio, Hertz pointed out that it changed its PlatePass program on Feb. 1, 2018, so that customers are only charged for the days they actually incur tolls. That change alone has already saved customers millions of dollars since it took effect nationwide.

Hertz and its business partner, American Traffic Solutions, Inc., have agreed to pay the city $3.65 million toward future consumer protection efforts.  

Written by Jordan Bowen.